Venezuela withdraws invitation for the EU Election Observation Mission to the presidential election

cneesvenezuela @cneesvzla
Elvis Amoroso, the head of the National Electoral Council (CNE), announced CNE's decision on Tuesday, citing the economic sanctions imposed by the EU on Venezuela as the reason.

Venezuela has rescinded its invitation for the European Union to send election observers for the July presidential election, in which President Nicolás Maduro is seeking reelection. Elvis Amoroso, the head of the National Electoral Council (CNE), announced CNE’s decision on Tuesday, citing the economic sanctions imposed by the EU on Venezuela as the reason.

However, the EU had not yet accepted the invitation sent earlier this year. It maintains sanctions against more than 50 Venezuelans accused of acts of repression or efforts to undermine democracy, but it doesn’t sanction the government as a whole. Additionally, the EU temporarily lifted sanctions against Amoroso and three other officials linked to the electoral body to recognise the improvements ahead of the elections. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan government rejected the lift.

Amoroso accuses the EU of neocolonial practices

Amoroso said Tuesday’s decision wants to show that EU representatives are not welcome in Venezuela.

«The European Union in its historical colonialist position ratified the coercive, unilateral and genocidal sanctions dictated to the worthy people of Venezuela, a situation that threatens its inhabitants, the sovereignty and independence of our nation (…) It would be immoral to allow their participation knowing their neocolonial practices and interventionism against Venezuela,” Amoroso stated.

Amoroso has demanded that the EU proceed with the “total lifting” of the sanctions and called on the Bloc to “cease their hostile position” against the country. The CNE has authorised more than 200 personalities and organisations worldwide to “accompany the electoral process.” Some of these organisations include the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the African Union (AU).

Maduro’s regime disrespects the Barbados agreement

Venezuela’s electoral body set the presidential election for July 28 and invited various organisations to observe the contest, fulfilling some provisions of an agreement between Maduro’s government and the democratic Unitary Platform opposition coalition. However, the government blocked the candidacy of the president’s chief opponent, María Corina Machado. The U.S. initially granted Venezuela’s government relief from economic sanctions but has since revoked it as hopes for a democratic opening fade.

The European Parliament has accused Venezuela of severe repression against the democratic opposition, human rights defenders, and civil society groups. On Thursday, March 2024, the Parliament adopted a resolution with 497 votes in favour, 22 against, and 27 abstentions. The Parliament urged the regime to stop repressing and attacking civil society and the opposition. Members of the European Parliament called on the EU to increase sanctions, including on high-level officials, members of the security forces, members of the regime’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice, and Nicolás Maduro himself. They also called on the international community to support a return to democracy in Venezuela, especially in light of the upcoming elections, and expressed support for the opposition leader, María Corina Machado.

The EU calls Caracas to reconsider its decision

In 2021, Venezuelan officials invited the European Union to observe regional elections, including gubernatorial and mayoral races. The Barbados agreement, signed by Venezuelan authorities and opposition parties, specifically stated that the EU would be invited to observe the elections.

However, the EU mission found that although the elections took place under improved conditions compared to previous years, public funds were used to benefit pro-government candidates. In mid-May, the European Union member states eased sanctions on four Venezuelan officials as part of efforts to engage with Venezuelan authorities for fair elections. However, the EU mission reported election irregularities, including delays in opening and closing voting centres, biased coverage for the ruling party on state television, and using tools, like free food and other goods, for political purposes. Consequently, the EU extended the remaining sanctions against Venezuela until January 10, 2025.

After the National Electoral Council (CNE) ‘s decision, the EU Delegation to Venezuela issued a statement on X urging the CNE to reconsider.

“The European Union deeply regrets the unilateral decision of the Venezuelan electoral Council to withdraw its invitation to observe the presidential elections on July 28.

The Venezuelan people should be able to choose their next president in credible, transparent, and competitive elections supported by international observation, including that of the European Union, which has a long and distinguished record of independent and impartial observation.

In accordance with the Barbados Agreement, signed by the Venezuelan authorities and opposition parties, which specifically stated that the EU would be invited to observe the elections, we call on the Venezuelan Electoral Council to reconsider its decision”.

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